I don’t think there is an original recipe for apple tart. Everyone’s recipe is slightly different and has often been handed down to them by their mother or grandmother. Depending on the choice of apple, the pastry and the flavorings (cinnamon, vanilla extract, lemon zest, hazelnut cream) the end result will vary.
I love to use puff pastry because of its crunch and when it comes to the apples I choose the sweetest variety on hand. Making the pastry yourself is an option, but it is such a pain that I always use the store-bought version which works perfectly. I love making small, almost cookie size, apple tartelettes as it accentuates the crunch of the pasty against its sweet filing.
For the compote:
- 2 apples
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
For the tartelettes (makes about 10 tartelettes):
- 2 sheets of store-bought puff pastry (about 230 grams per sheet, ready rolled out)
- 4 sweet apples (I use Jona Gold apples)
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of sugar per tartelette
- 1 tablespoon of apricot jam
- 1 teaspoon of water
- 1 egg
- Peel, core and finely dice the two apples.
- Take a large saucepan and add the apples, sugar, water and cinnamon.
- Stir to combine all ingredients.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn it down to medium heat, let simmer for approximately 15 minutes, during this time the apples will soften and the liquid will thicken to a syrup like consistency.
- Let the mixture cool down.
- Blend the mixture till smooth.
- Peel the apples. Cut them in half and take out the core. Then slice the apples (medium thickness) into half moon shapes. If you notice that they are too big in comparison to the circles you’ve cut (see further) you can half them. Take into account that as the apples will bake in the oven the slices will shrink slightly.
- Take a sheet of puff pastry. Leave the second sheet in the fridge; it is easier to work with the pastry when it is cold. Only take it out when you are going to make the tartelettes.
- From each sheet of pastry, cut out 5 circles of 12 cm. I have a cookie cutter of this shape, if you don’t, you can use a small plate and cut around the plate. The size might be a bit different, so you might not end up with 10 tartelettes.
- On each circle of pastry spread out 1 tablespoon of compote, leave about a cm between the compote and the edge.
- On top of this arrange the apple slices in a circle.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar on the apples.
- Roll up the edge of the pastry to ‘close up’ the apple tart to ensure it holds the filling. If you feel like it you can pinch the pastry all around so you get a nice shape.
- Put the egg in a bowl and whisk it. With a small brush put some egg wash all around the edges of the folded puff pastry, this will ensure the pastry turns a nice golden color when it bakes. For decorative purposes you can sprinkle some sugar on the egg wash (and even some toasted almond flakes for extra crunch).
- Put them in a preheated oven of 150°C for about 45 minutes. It is important to bake the tartelettes slow so the apples cook all the way through.
- Once the tartelettes are ready, take them out of the oven and let them cool down.
- Mix the apricot jam and the water and brush a thin layer of this paste all over the tartelette (over the filling and the edges). This will give it a nice shine.
If you prefer making the pie-size version of this apple tart, which takes less time and is as delicious, you just need one sheet of puff pastry and fill it with the compote and apples as per the instructions above.